1. Be Warm and Inviting in Your ClassroomNo one wants to enter a home where they do not feel welcome. The same goes for your students. You and your classroom should be an inviting place where students feel safe and accepted.
2. Make Real World Connections for the StudentsResearch has shown over the years that students are more engaged when they feel that what they are learning is connected to life outside the classroom. In fact, the framework for 21st Century Skills and Standards focuses on engaging "... students with the real world data, tools, and experts they will encounter in college, on the job, and in life." Therefore, we must as educators attempt to show real world connections to the lesson we are teaching as often as possible.
3. Use Project-Based LearningSolving real world problems as the beginning of the educational process instead of the end is quite motivating. Project-based learning is the idea that students start with a problem to solve, complete research, and then finally solve the problem using tools and information that you would typically teach in a number of lessons. Instead of learning information away from its application, this shows students how what they learn can be used to solve problems.
4. Make Learning Objectives ObviousMany times what appears to be a lack of interest is really just a student afraid to reveal how overwhelmed they fell. Certain topics can be overwhelming because of the amount of information and details involved. Providing students with a road map through accurate learning objectives that shows them exactly what it is you want them to learn can help allay some of these concerns.
5. Make Cross-Curricular ConnectionsSometimes students do not see how what they learn in one class intersects with what they are learning in other classes. Cross-curricular connections can provide students with a sense of context while increasing interest in all classes involved. For example, having an English teacher assign students to read Huckleberry Finn while students in an American History class are learning about slavery and the pre-Civil War era can lead to a deeper understanding in both classes.
Magnet schools that are based around specific themes like health, engineering, or the arts take advantage of this by having all classes in the curriculum find ways to integrate the students' career interests into their classroom lessons.